Zhengxiao Liu


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A Gradient Control Method for Backdoor Attacks on Parameter-Efficient Tuning
Naibin Gu | Peng Fu | Xiyu Liu | Zhengxiao Liu | Zheng Lin | Weiping Wang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Parameter-Efficient Tuning (PET) has shown remarkable performance by fine-tuning only a small number of parameters of the pre-trained language models (PLMs) for the downstream tasks, while it is also possible to construct backdoor attacks due to the vulnerability of pre-trained weights. However, a large reduction in the number of attackable parameters in PET will cause the user’s fine-tuning to greatly affect the effectiveness of backdoor attacks, resulting in backdoor forgetting. We find that the backdoor injection process can be regarded as multi-task learning, which has a convergence imbalance problem between the training of clean and poisoned data. And this problem might result in forgetting the backdoor. Based on this finding, we propose a gradient control method to consolidate the attack effect, comprising two strategies. One controls the gradient magnitude distribution cross layers within one task and the other prevents the conflict of gradient directions between tasks. Compared with previous backdoor attack methods in the scenario of PET, our method improve the effect of the attack on sentiment classification and spam detection respectively, which shows that our method is widely applicable to different tasks.

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Maximum Entropy Loss, the Silver Bullet Targeting Backdoor Attacks in Pre-trained Language Models
Zhengxiao Liu | Bowen Shen | Zheng Lin | Fali Wang | Weiping Wang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2023

Pre-trained language model (PLM) can be stealthily misled to target outputs by backdoor attacks when encountering poisoned samples, without performance degradation on clean samples. The stealthiness of backdoor attacks is commonly attained through minimal cross-entropy loss fine-tuning on a union of poisoned and clean samples. Existing defense paradigms provide a workaround by detecting and removing poisoned samples at pre-training or inference time. On the contrary, we provide a new perspective where the backdoor attack is directly reversed. Specifically, maximum entropy loss is incorporated in training to neutralize the minimal cross-entropy loss fine-tuning on poisoned data. We defend against a range of backdoor attacks on classification tasks and significantly lower the attack success rate. In extension, we explore the relationship between intended backdoor attacks and unintended dataset bias, and demonstrate the feasibility of the maximum entropy principle in de-biasing.


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COST-EFF: Collaborative Optimization of Spatial and Temporal Efficiency with Slenderized Multi-exit Language Models
Bowen Shen | Zheng Lin | Yuanxin Liu | Zhengxiao Liu | Lei Wang | Weiping Wang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Transformer-based pre-trained language models (PLMs) mostly suffer from excessive overhead despite their advanced capacity. For resource-constrained devices, there is an urgent need for a spatially and temporally efficient model which retains the major capacity of PLMs. However, existing statically compressed models are unaware of the diverse complexities between input instances, potentially resulting in redundancy and inadequacy for simple and complex inputs. Also, miniature models with early exiting encounter challenges in the trade-off between making predictions and serving the deeper layers. Motivated by such considerations, we propose a collaborative optimization for PLMs that integrates static model compression and dynamic inference acceleration. Specifically, the PLM is slenderized in width while the depth remains intact, complementing layer-wise early exiting to speed up inference dynamically. To address the trade-off of early exiting, we propose a joint training approach that calibrates slenderization and preserves contributive structures to each exit instead of only the final layer. Experiments are conducted on GLUE benchmark and the results verify the Pareto optimality of our approach at high compression and acceleration rate with 1/8 parameters and 1/19 FLOPs of BERT.